Cancer Research UK Calls For An End To Misinformation About Vaping

cruk manchester e-cigarette campaign

There’s a dangerous and growing misconception out there that vaping is as bad for you as smoking and Cancer Research UK says it needs to stop.

Politicians have touched on this issue – Public Health England mentioned it in its recent Review of all things vaping – I never stop banging on about it and now Cancer Research UK has joined the fray and is calling for action to save countless lives.

Of all the big health charities here in the UK – Cancer Research has to be the biggest supporter of vaping and for quite some time now has been calling on smokers to quit by switching to vaping.

This is not some little charity either – in 2016/2017 they raised over £647million spending £386million on research alone – and by employing some of the best scientists and researchers in the world you know when this charity speaks out – those in the know listen.

The facts are there for all to see and make for worrying reading.

Between 2013 and 2017 almost 4 times as many people wrongly believed that vaping was more dangerous than smoking – despite all the scientific evidence pointing to that being plainly wrong.

As the PHE review said this week the numbers of smokers taking up vaping to quit smoking has ‘plateaued out‘ standing now at around 3million people.

Given there’s around 7.6 million smokers in the UK – and numbers are at an all time low – whilst the switch to vaping has made progress it’s stalled meaning there’s still a long way to go.

Is The Media To Blame For False Information Around Vaping?

So where has this public misconception come from?

You only need to take a quick look at the main headlines around e-cigarettes this past few days to see exactly where the public and indeed smokers are getting this misinformation from – the media!

Following on from the excellent review of e-cigarettes from Public Health England released this week – the media and almost as one dodged the key positive policy recommendations regarding vaping and instead concentrated on ‘vaping should be allowed in hospital beds‘ and ‘e-cigarettes should be on prescription‘.

phe e-cigarette review 2018

This of course clouded what was a pretty resounding thumbs up to vaping health wise – however with those kind of headlines it meant an opening for more people to bang on about the NHS struggling already without selfish vapers demanding ‘special treatment‘.

And following on from last weeks hysterical headlines suggesting e-cigarettes cause cancer – rebutted here – I wake this morning to see that we vapers are probably going to get pneumonia – no doubt I’ll be rebutting that one soon too.

Where will this tsunami of fake news and sensationalist headlines end?

Because as crazy as it sounds the slow drip drip drip of false information blown up in the media is costing lives and meaning more smokers are not making the healthier option to switch or at least try.

OK so lets look at the key points the public is confused about and this is coming straight from CRUK.

Vaping IS Much Less Harmful Than Smoking

Using the findings from a study published in the British Medial Journal [BMJ] titled: Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigarettes with those of tobacco smoke – CRUK says:

Scientists analyzed the chemicals released from tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and estimated that the lifetime cancer risk for e-cigarette use could be 100 times lower than that of smoking.

So you’re 100 times less likely to get cancer by being a regular vaper than a regular smoker – FACT.

Anyone heard – read or watched the media ‘bigging up‘ this fact?

Probably not – I mean it’s almost as if there’s an ‘agenda out there…

The Public’s Perception Of E-Cigarettes Worsens

CRUK says this is a particularly worrying trend and the numbers make quite shocking reading.

Five years ago less people believed vaping was as harmful as smoking compared to today – and despite all the evidence and regulations forced on and improvements made by the vaping industry – this figure seems to be growing alarmingly.

In 2013 just 7% of people thought vaping was more harmful than smoking compared to a whopping rise to 26% in 2017 – that’s just 13% of people in the UK who rightly believe that e-cigarettes and vaping is a lot less harmful than smoking.

e-cigs less harmful than smoking

Quite scary really.

So take a bow mainstream media – as I keep on saying your puerile ‘war against vaping‘ might make juicy headlines and click-bait to sell your ailing tomes – but you are costing lives – all for the sake of a few clicks or newspaper sales.

As I reported earlier this week – Professor John Newton the Director for Health Improvement at Public Health England said:

It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.

CRUK are doing their utmost to get this message across and I applaud them for taking such a brave stance against such an anti e-cigarette media.

E-Cigarettes DO Help People Quit Smoking

Once again the numbers don’t lie and for once the media couldn’t ignore this report when it was first released.

In 2017 the number of smokers in the UK fell dramatically showing the lowest number of successful ‘quits’ since records began.

CRUK quite rightly surmises whilst this is dramatic fall is not down to the use of e-cigarettes alone – they say ‘they’re likely to have played a role.’


It doesn’t take a genius to see the link – and neither does it take a genius to see that given vaping has ‘plateaued‘ at its current level – it’s entirely possible less smokers are likely to turn to vaping and these record breaking quit figures will stall.

CRUK also points out that past research had shown the majority of vapers were dual users – those that smoke and vape – however recent studies show this is no longer the case with more sole users of e-cigarettes than those who smoke as well.

It’s not rocket science when I say if the media continues its war on vaping more people will die of lit tobacco related diseases.

Nope Kids Aren’t Using Vaping As A ‘Gateway’ To Smoking

Every time I come to write anything with that kind of title my head rests gently on my keyboard for a few moments – I let out a deep sigh or two and begin writing.

Of all the arguments from the anti-vape brigade nothing is as emotive as ‘what about the poor little kiddies‘.

It’s as if us vapers and indeed the vape industry are part of some kind of Dickensian cult that hangs around school gates proffering vape kits and e-liquid on anyone under 18.

Pssst kid…wanna buy an ego…?

Just call me E-Fag Fagin if you like.

I know it’s not a laughing matter…but really I’m tired of this argument!

E-cigarette Hub at CRUK
E-cigarette Hub at CRUK

No matter how many times the numbers prove that youngsters DO NOT vape then smoke – the media just loves to get on their righteous indignation soap boxes.

Which in turn is picked up by ignorant politicians looking for their 15 minutes to justify they ‘care‘ and are actually doing something…

OK enough of my own personal soapbox lol – what’s CRUK’s take on this?

Let’s leave it to Professor Linda Bauld – the charity’s cancer prevention expert who is in no doubt about the real truth behind this:

In the UK, research clearly shows that regular use of e-cigarettes among young people who have never smoked remains negligible, less than 1%.

We need to keep closely monitoring these trends, but so far the data suggest that e-cigarettes are not acting as a route into regular smoking amongst young people.

Young people who’ve NEVER smoked are not vaping in massive numbers as you’re led to belive it’s that simple!

And of those that do vape – we’re looking at way less than 1% – and those kids are coming off the fags.

Whilst of course it would be better if no kids smoked or vaped – that is never going to happen – smoking has been a kind of rebellious rite of passage for youngster for years.

But even the numbers of kids smoking is dropping significantly and continues to show a sharp downward trend.

But hey as I often say on here – ‘don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story…

The ingredients of e-liquid are secret and dangerous

This is in fact far from the truth; there is no reason to hide the contents of the liquid that is used in vaporizers. Vegetable glycerin (VG) and Propylene glycol (PG) are the main components used in e liquid.

PG is a substance which is found in albuterol. Most asthma patients will be familiar with this as being the medication that is used in their inhalers.

The liquid that is used in e cigs also contains flavouring; this varies between liquids and can be either natural or man-made. The final ingredient of the liquid is nicotine; levels of this vary, depending on the liquid. Nicotine free is also available.

Further Reading: What Is In E-Liquid?

Most manufacturers of e liquid also produce their e juice in ISO level clean rooms and test their juices. Buying 10ml bottles in the UK means that the e-liquids have gone through testing and passed by the MHRA.

Nobody can say that e-liquid is 100% safe to inhale, you are after all taking a substance into your lungs.

The one important question that you should be asking is ‘Are e cigs / e-liquids safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes?

Public health England recently released a study where they state that they believe using e cigarettes is at least 95% safer than using tobacco cigarettes.

Take a look at our e cigarette research resource, read up and make your own informed decision.

Vaping doesn’t provide the same experience as smoking

There are many different ways you can vape, some will provide an experience similar to smoking, some offer a different experience. The simple fact is it can take some getting used to. If you are not willing to persevere or if you choose a product that doesn’t fit your needs then it is unlikely you will make the switch successfully.

After years of vaping I have come to find that smoking to me now is pretty disgusting, the smell, the taste, I don’t miss it one bit. Vaping provides an improved experience in my opinion.

The key is to choose the right device and nicotine level from the start. Too weak a nicotine and you won’t satisfy your cravings, too strong and things get unpleasant. The same can be said for e liquid flavors. You may not get it right first time but don’t give up.

You WILL find the right e liquid flavor and you will make the switch if you stick with it.

Vaping is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes

One of the statements that you will often hear being made is that vaping is as dangerous as smoking a cigarette; this is not the case.

As previously touched on above. Just last year The Guardian ran a story following a report by Public Health England stating that vaping is approximately 95% less harmful than smoking a cigarette. The report even suggested that vaporizers may even be prescribed as anti-smoking aids in the future, as an alternative to products such as patches.

E Cigs Explode up All The Time!

It seems every week there is a story in the papers about e cigarettes exploding. Most of these problems however are in fact down to user error.

The reasons that e cigs explode:

Using the wrong charger – Fire services have continually stressed how important it is to use the correct device when charging your e cigarette. Many causes of fires when charging are when incompatible chargers are being used.

Phone chargers are one of the biggest culprits, most output too much power for an e cig battery and this causes an overload and in some cases catastrophic battery failure.

Just because the USB cable fits into a plug adapter meant for another device doesn’t mean it should be used. Only use a charger supplied by the e cig manufacturer.

Mech Mods – There have been reports that ‘e cigs’ have exploded in someones face when using. While this of course is a horrible thing, mech mods provide no electrical protection and if the user doesn’t understand what they are doing, use incorrect batteries or a mod that doesn’t allow sufficient venting then accidents will happen.

Only for those with experience and a full understanding of how these devices work with batteries.

E Cigs exploding in pockets – This is something that has been reported fairly often recently. The truth in 99% of cases is that it isn’t an e cig that has exploded.

It is loose, spare batteries.

When loose batteries come into contact with coins, keys or other metal objects they can short causing the battery to vent and possibly catch fire or explode. This can happen with any loose batteries carried around in an unsafe manner, not just batteries meant for e cigs.

Cases for batteries cost a few $/£’s. Buy one for your spare batteries and follow general battery safety.

Learn more about why e cig batteries explode.

Vaping doesn’t help you quit smoking

It has been shown that vaping can definitely help smokers to quit the habit. A 2015 study showed that 13% of people who quit smoking used vaporizers or e-cigs before they quit. Vaping may not be a means of quitting for everyone, but it has definitely been shown to be an effective aide to quitting in many cases.

For me personally, it’s an alternative. If I have a choice to vape or smoke, I chose vaping. In fact I have done since 2009. After many years of smoking vaping was the only thing that helped me ditch the cigs.

Again, we aren’t saying it’s not completely without risk but it can be a step in the right direction for many smokers.

Time To Support Advocacy Groups And Charities That Back Vaping

As I said at the start Cancer Research UK is one of the biggest supporters of vaping as a healthier option to smoking.

Indeed right now the charity is in the middle of a major campaign in Greater Manchester promoting the use of e-cigs as much safer alternative to smoking and the best way to quit.

I’ve been keeping an eye on that and used it as an example between the difference between the UK’s and Australia’s stance on vaping – once the results are in from the Manchester CRUK campaign we’ll bring you the story.

More info on the CRUK E-Cig Awareness Campaign Here

Politicians – health organizations – health watchdogs and major charities such as CRUK are calling for more work to be done on blowing away the myth that vaping is as if not more dangerous than smoking.

Sadly these calls are falling on deaf ears as far as the media is concerned.

For every single well meaning extensive and expensive campaign launched – such as the one currently ongoing in the Greater Manchester area – all the hard work can be undone by one single irresponsible tabloid headline.

And given those irresponsible wildly inaccurate unfairly reported ‘stories‘ don’t look as if they’re ever going to go away any time soon – vaping advocates and the bodies I’ve mentioned have their work cut out to say the least.

So now more than ever organizations – particularly charities that are positively supporting vaping such as CRUK and the New Nicotine Alliance – need our support to help on re-educating the public.

Right I’m off to research pneumonia *sighs* – watch this space 😉

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Neil Humber

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


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